Sunday, 7 March 2021
By Elder Bryan Lee 李惠隆
17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?
18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
I have a few regrets in life but one stands out. It is my failure to express gratitude to my former headmaster Mr. Ratnasingam who instead of sacking me from school due to my gross misconduct (devotional dated 12/7/2020) chose to be merciful.
Years later, in the 1990s, after his bad car accident, Mr. Ratnasingam used to walk the main streets of Section 17, Petaling Jaya all by himself. And every time I drove pass him I would mention to my wife…
“That is my former headmaster.”
Deep in my heart, on many occasions I wanted to stop my car and approach him but for whatever reasons I never got to do that.
A few years later I never saw him again. Whenever I think of my former headmaster I feel a deep sense of gratitude.
Like me, Polish Jew Franciszek Gajoniczek never saw the man who showed him mercy ever again. In 1940, he was incarcerated in Auschwitz – that infamous death camp. Four million Jews died there during the Second World War and half a ton of human hair is still preserved for posterity. Prisoners were herded into shower rooms but what rained down wasn’t water but poison gas. The showers are still there as a testimony to the utter wickedness of the human heart. In the midst of all the atrocities, Franciscan priest Maximilian Kolbe arrived as a prisoner in February 1941.
In July, a camp prisoner managed to escape and the custom at Auschwitz was to randomly pick 10 prisoners and slowly starve them to death. When Gajoniczek was picked, he was heard weeping in agony…
“My wife…my children…”
Hearing his agonising words, Maximilian Kolbe walked up to the camp commandant and requested to take his place.
“I want to die in the place of this prisoner,” he said as he pointed at the sobbing Gajoniczek. Kolbe’s request was granted.
Nicknamed Saint of Auschwitz in the camp, Kolbe died on August 14, 1941.
Gajoniczek made it through the Holocaust and returned to his native Poland when the war ended. But every August 14 he went back to Auschwitz to express his deep gratitude to the man who died in his place. (1)
He died in 1995 at the age of 93.
After Jesus healed the ten lepers, only one came back to say “Thank You.”
“Where are the nine?” Jesus asked.
Like the lepers, we who are Christians have been healed of the leprosy of sin. Gajoniczek had a priest to die in his place. We have our High Priest died for us all. This Lent season as we meditate on the Cross of Calvary leading to Good Friday and Easter, let us wake up every morning and express our gratitude to the One who died in our place…
“Thank You Lord.“
Dear Lord, thank You for dying in my place. Let me be more aware of what I have than what I don’t. Because I have You, I already have the greatest of all treasures. Amen.
- Story adapted from “Six Hours One Friday” by Max Lucado.
路17:17-18 耶稣说：“洁净了的不是十个人吗？那九个在哪里呢？除了这外族人，再没有别人回来归荣耀于神吗？” 就对那人说：“起来走吧！你的信救了你了。”
我人生中有一些遗憾，但有一件事是令人格外惋惜。他没有因为我的严重失当而开除我(12/7/2020的每日灵粮篇)， 但我未能亲口感谢我的前任校长，Ratnasingam 先生。
多年后的90年代，在发生严重车祸前，Ratnasingam 先生曾独自行走八打灵再也17段的主要街道。每次我开车经过他，我都会跟我妻子说：“那是我的前任校长。” 在我内心深处，我曾多次想停下车来跟他说话，但不知出于什么原因，我都没那么做。
像我一样，波兰犹太人弗朗齐谢克·加约尼切克 （Franciszek Gajoniczek ）再也没有见过那个施恩他的人。1940年，他被关在奥斯威辛集中营，就是臭名昭著的死亡集中营。第二次世界大战期间，有400万犹太人死在那里，5吨人类头发仍留给后代。囚犯被赶进淋浴间，但淋的不是水，而是毒气。这证明了人心的败坏。1941年2月，方济会的神父马克西莫·科尔贝（Maximilian Kolbe ）作为囚犯抵达营中。